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Best reward and cashback credit cards revealed

Find out which cards reward best for brand loyalty

Credit card

New research from Which? shows that you could be losing out on hundreds of pounds by choosing the wrong reward credit card.

Reward credit cards are one of the few products on the market where you can earn a reasonable return for staying loyal to a particular brand. 

Our research shows, however, that this loyalty could be a false economy, leaving you up to £140 less well off in rewards between the most and least generous deals on the market.

Reward and cashback cards: the best and worst deals

The American Express Nectar credit card came out top in our research, offering a generous £50 introductory bonus, 2% in-store rate and additional £2.50 worth of MorePoints for every £500 spent. 

The next best reward credit cards on offer were from House of Fraser and Amazon.co.uk. House of Fraser’s Recognition MasterCard offers a 3% in-store rate and 1% elsewhere, while the Amazon.co.uk offers a 3% on all spend for the first 90 days followed by 2% on Amazon.co.uk spend and 1% elsewhere.   

The Tesco Clubcard MasterCard came out worst in our scenario offering only 0.25% on all spend, though it does pay 1.25% on Tesco Fuel.

Reward and cashback cards: what you get for £500 spend a month

The table below shows how much you would receive in reward points as a cash equivalent during your first and subsequent years, based on spending £250 in-store (i.e. with the brand) and £250 elsewhere. For a full break down of the reward point structure and introductory deals see our reward card credit card table.

Reward credit cards
  Purchase APR Annual Fee First-year reward for £500 monthly spend Subsequent year reward for £500 monthly spend
American Express Nectar Credit Card 19.9% None £155 £105
House of Fraser Recognition MasterCard 19.9% None £120 £120
Amazon.co.uk MasterCard 16.9% None £117.5 £90
Debenhams MasterCard 19.9% None £110 £105
Play.com Visa 16.9% None £105 £90
Lastminute.com MasterCard 18.9% None £105 £90
Laura Ashley MasterCard 18.9% None £80 £75
MBNA More Rewards Amexa 12.9% None £75 £60
NatWest/RBS YourPoints MasterCard 17.9% None £65 £42.5
Barclaycard Freedom Visa 18.9% None £64.5 £34.5
Orange MasterCard 18.9% None £60 £60
Sainsbury’s Bank Nectar MasterCard 17.9% None £55.5 £33
Marks and Spencers Bank MasterCard 16.9% None £50 £45
AA Members Reward Visa 16.9% None £45 £45
John Lewis Partnership MasterCard 16.9% None £45 £45
AA Rewards Visa 16.9% None £22.5 £22.5
Tesco Clubcard MasterCard 16.9% None £15 £15
Cashback credit cards
American Express Platinum Cashback Card 14% £25 £106.25 £50
Barclaycard Cashback Visa 19.9% £24 £81 £66
Santander 123 Casback MasterCard 18.9% £24 £0 – £66 £0 – £66

Table notes

  1. Comes with a Visa card, earning half the points of the Amex card.

The best cashback cards

Cashback credit cards offer the best all-round solution, repaying a set amount on all spend regardless of where you choose to shop. However as shown above, the best reward card deal can earn you more than the best cashback card on £500 spend a month.  

American Express once again came out best in scenario with the Platinum Cashback Credit Card. It pays a generous 5% introductory cashback rate capped at £100 during the first three months and 1.25% on all other spend. 

Barclaycard and Santander offered the next best deals, for more information visit best cashback credit card deals.

How to make the most of reward and cashback cards

To make the most of a reward or cashback credit card, you need to ensure you pay off your bill in full each month, to avoid paying any interest. 

The best cashback credit card deals shown above charge an annual fee of £24/£25, so these cards may not be suitable for small spenders as the fee may cancel out the annual rewards. 

For more information about credit cards see our guide how to find the best credit card.

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